The ‘human error’ that could have cost Arsenal the Premier League title

(CNN) That English Premier League has long been defined by the best margins; points dropped here, goals missed there.

Just one point separated last year’s champions Manchester City from runners-up Liverpool and, as Jurgen Klopp’s team learned, languishing in mid-table, chances to win titles rarely come.

So when a “human error”, as the body responsible for Premier League referees admits, allowed Brentford’s equalizer to draw 1-1 with league leaders Arsenal, it sparked backlash as it denied the Gunners a crucial victory.

“I just looked back and it was offside, yeah,” manager Mikel Arteta told Sky Sports afterwards. “Have they explained why it’s not allowed? No. It’s frustrating but they’ll probably provide an explanation later in the week. Today we haven’t got it.”

With Brentford trailing 1-0, Ivan Toney scored after the ball bounced around the box from a free kick.

Video Assistant Referee (VAR) Lee Mason checked Ethan Pinnock’s challenge on Gabriel during the early free-kick but appeared not to use VAR guidelines to check for a second incident in goal-building when Christian Norgaard appeared to be offside.

Arsenal sit at the top of the Premier League.

“You have to apply certain principles in defense and you do that by sticking to the rules. Suddenly you change the rules and then you have to change your principles,” Arteta continued.

“So let us know in advance so you don’t hold the line that high. Because you will always have the advantage if you are blocked. You cannot block if you are offside.”

Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), the body responsible for Premier League refereeing, told CNN that Chief Referee Howard Webb has contacted Arsenal “to be aware of and explain significant errors in the VAR process.”

It added that the error was “fully reviewed by PGMOL.”

Arsenal’s draw against Brentford marked the second straight week in which they dropped points following a shock defeat to Everton, and its lead over Manchester City is now just three points, even though City have played one game more.

The Gunners next take to the field on Wednesday, against City in what is likely to define their season.

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